Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hand Dyeing Kits & BIG Berroco weekend coming up!

First up, a BIG reminder that Andra (our Berroco sales rep) will be here next Saturday from about 9:30am - 3pm. And we will be having a big Berroco sale that day in the shop! She was here yesterday showing me the new Spring '07 Berroco yarns (they are great!) and she brought up a LOT of garments - some from Berroco and some of her own, using Berroco yarns. We will have all of them for you to see in person. They are so inspiring!

Our favorite is the Foliage Fleur Shrug, from the cover of book #247. I wasn't too sure about this sweater from the picture. But when I tried it on I was sold. It is comfortable, cozy, lightweight, and FUN! We all agree, it's an awesome sweater. And it's here for you to see! Andra had just returned from Stitches and she said that jacket was the hit of the show. People were snapping it up right and left.

Another favorite is Andra's own pattern - the Cabin Lap Throw, which uses 5 different Berroco yarns and is a simple wave stitch. I put together 5 really pretty color combinations for the website and can't wait to knit one up for the shop. I think were going to do the blue colorway.

So next Saturday, November 18th, come in, get inspired and $AVE on Berroco yarns! If you're in a rut, Andra will get you moving on your holiday knitting. Bring needles if you want to swatch some yarns, or we'll supply them if you forget.

So Barb, Michele and I took home our Louet sock kits, and dyed our sock yarn this weekend. It was so fun to come in on Monday morning and see how each other's yarns came out. It is so much fun and it is so EASY. What a great project!Here are the steps. Soak yarn in Meadows Wool Wash.

Prepare dyeing surface with plastic wrap.

Lay yarn on surface, side by side.

Have fun with your colors (all three of them).

...TA DA!

Wrap each skein in plastic wrap.

Put all three skeins inside of two Ziploc storage bags.

Microwave for 4 minutes once, and then turn over, and another 4 minutes.

Take out. HOT! Squeeze out excess liquid.

Hang to dry.

When dry, wash again in wool wash. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Dry. ENJOY!

Friday, November 03, 2006

New yarns, samples and some acrobatic kitties

It's been a hectic week for me - each day I've been coming and going... dentist appointment, early pick up for Halloween, hernia appointment, teacher's conferences, etc. But we all worked hard to completely rearrange more than half of the sport/dk weight room. We had to make space for Colinette Cadenza, a 100% merino that is hand painted, and machine washable. It's so soft and gorgeous, and I REALLY hope it arrives today! If not, I will have to find another knitting project for the weekend. I am about 30 minutes away from finishing a little Minnowknits pattern with Berroco Pure Merino. It's wonderful to knit with Pure Merino, and at 4-4.5 stitches to the inch, it's quick too. Which is great because it means almost instant satisfaction... and not so great, since it means I am then out of a knitting project. (Hope the Cadenza arrives!)

We got in our remaining colors of Plymouth Tweed, so I was able to put those up on the website. Tweed is a gorgeous yarn from Plymouth. The colors are incredible, and the yarn is a soft 100% virgin lambswool. I can't wait to knit with this yarn.

Joy has been knitting samples for us now for a few months, and without her help, we would not be able to keep up with all of the new yarns we keep getting. Thanks Joy! The other day she sent us the Organik sweater and it is just gorgeous. We've been doing really well with both Organik and Terra, from the Fiber Company. Both yarns are beautiful, and wonderful to work with. This pattern for the Organik sweater is from Design Source Cotton Collection #1. It is a great looking sweater.

We sent her a Cabin Fever pattern last week and some Cascade Fixation and that should be back here tomorrow. Do you know that you can get 5 stitches to the inch on a 9 or a 10 US? And it looks great at that gauge. What a perfect sweater yarn for kids - comfy, stretchy and washable. Don't just think socks for Fixation!

Two of our sweaters in the shop (and online) have become best sellers. The first is the Cropped Cardigan which is made with two strands of Blue Sky Melange. We have this on the mannequin, and as soon as people see it, they want it. It's a really cute sweater, and because there is no button, it looks amazing with a Gita Maria pin at the neck. The second is the Shaped Cardigan - a Classic Elite pattern that we knit up with Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The sweater is SO flattering, and such a classic design, that it can be worn for years and years. The Ultra Alpaca was a perfect choice for this sweater - it has a beautiful drape.

Yesterday we received our Louet hand dyeing sock kits. These are so great! They're available in five colorways - reds, browns, blues, pinks and greens and they are the perfect gift for sock knitters who want to dye their own yarn! Barb took a blue kit, I took a green kit and Michele took a brown one. We're going to show the results of our dying next week. The yarn in the kits is the GEMS fingering weight yarn by Louet, a super soft merino yarn with a unique twist that gives it great loft, elasticity and stitch definition. These kits will hopefully be online by this afternoon!

We have a number of new samples in the works - a 3/4 sleeve woman's sweater out of Berroco Pure Merino, a very classic raglan pullover out of Cleckheaton Country Silk 8-ply, another Cabana Shawl.. but this time out of just one color of CTH Thick & Thin, a cute baby sweater with a nice lace pattern out of the new colors of Dreambaby DK, a lace wrap out of CTH Cascade Fingering... we are busy.

We also sorted through all of the donations we've received so far for COTS. Remember, we are taking donations of new, knitted items through December 20th. Then we will then take them to COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter) in Burlington. We've had a really nice response so far from our local customers, Remember - sweaters are welcome too! Maybe pull out that sweater you've never finished, that's been sitting in your stash for years, and finish it and bring/send it in. Hats, scarves and mittens are awesome, but socks and sweaters in any size are also nice! We will be giving away two $75 gift cards - one to a local and one to an internet customer.

Have you all started your holiday lists? Last night my daughters did, and they each have a theme going. Helen wants a lot of I-Pod things, including an I-Pod, and everything needs to be blue. Sophie is asking for an assortment of American Girl Doll accessories, like hair things, ice skates, crutches and bandages... It's pretty clear I need to help them to round out these lists so they are not putting all their eggs in one basket.

The best "toys" I have ever gotten them have been the kittens. They carry them around all the time. The other night they were handing out Halloween candy at the front door, while holding the cats like baby dolls in their arms. I kept hearing "Trick or Treat! AWWWW... cute kitties! Can I pet them?" I think the cats were more well received than the candy.

The cats love to be pushed around the house in the doll stroller. Helen even gives them pretend bottles... And all of this is tolerated by Maisy and Lucy (luckily).

They are even teaching them to read! (Lucy! Pay attention!)

So with all of this attention that is being showered on these little kitties, they will surely grow up to be well rounded cats.

I recently learned that they might have a future as world class gymnasts. I was watching TV and knitting the other night. They like to sleep on top of the entertainment cupboard, which is about 6 1/2 feet tall. The basement door was open, and when open, it is near the entertainment cupboard. All of a sudden I sensed that the door was moving and I looked over to see this:

What this picture does not show is that the door was moving. They were both balanced on top of the door, and with each movement they made, the door swayed back and forth. They must really enjoy it, as it's become a nightly routine.

UPS just came! I'm all set for my knitting this weekend - the Cadenza arrived!